Yes – small businesses can still attract top talent

Updated on 23 March 2016

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Yes - small businesses can still attract top talent
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Having a clear Employee Value Proposition (EVP) in place is a critical tool in obtaining top talent and is increasingly seen as an integral part of a business branding strategy. This is the employment deal that defines what an employer expects from its employees, and what it provides them in return.

For small business employers, a transparent and inclusive EVP helps attract, retain, motivate and engage employees to drive business success. For employees, it shapes the overall view, emotional connection and discretionary effort they bring to the company. For both, it is a critical element for a successful workplace and career experience.

If employees are not happy, how will they assist a startup in achieving goals? The modern business mantra is to take care of your employees first and they will take care of your customers – this is an approach that all businesses, especially SMEs, should adopt when engaging employees and communicating their EVP.

Research from American global professional services firm, Towers Watson, shows that organisations who use their EVP effectively are five times more likely to report that their employees are highly engaged and twice as likely to report achieving financial performance significantly above their peers.

How startups can ensure that they are building a highly talented workforce:

Honing your EVP 

The right team is crucial to the successful development of the EVP – make it cross-functional and include marketing or corporate communication, executives or managers as well as a diversity of age and tenure on the team.

Think about how you reward your employees – getting the right balance of benefits is crucial. Regard the EVP as the deal made between your business and its employees.

Getting it right

Focus on these key components when drawing up your EPV:

  • Rewards (compensation and health benefits, pension assurance, vacations etc.);
  • Opportunity (career growth opportunities, promotions, leadership opportunities, empowerment);
  • Work Environment (interesting work, work life balance, opportunity to be creative and innovative, recognition for the efforts, amount of travelling for job requirements etc.)
  •  People (team work, interaction amongst employees, social life, camaraderie etc.)

The process of getting your EVP right can be distilled into these practices: 

Effectively communicate the EVP to employees.

  • Align the EVP with what your business stands for in the marketplace.
  • Make sure to deliver on EVP promises.
  • Use your business strategy regarding talent management and rewards programmes.
  • Articulate a total rewards strategy aligned with your business and HR strategy.

An effective EVP aligns your company’s entire work experience, from culture, mission and values, to total rewards, through jobs and people.

There is much that can be achieved for your small business, however, this requires both a strong employer brand strategy and communication plan.

About the author: Kay Vittee is the CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions (Pty) Ltd one of South Africa’s leading staffing solutions provider. She’s a business woman holding a Masters in Business Administration, a B.Com (Banking and Economics) and various other financial and marketing qualifications. Kay’s business acumen and success have made her a sought after speaker and thought leader.

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